U12 Football Champs!

Pearses 4-7; Craughwell 1-5: Report Martina Donnellan. Pearses U12 footballers captured the U12 Group 10 Shield Final on a glorious sunny Tuesday evening when they renewed acquaintances with Craughwell having beaten them in the group stages a few weeks ago. This match was fairly well-balanced throughout and it was only in the final 5 minutes that Pearses made the victory certain as they pulled away with some well-taken goals and points to run out easy winners in the end.

Hurlers to the core and not noted so much for their football ability, these youngsters under the leadership of Gareth and Johnny Lally captured the crown in true style. They continued the chapter left off after three successful years of football when the U’12s last won in 2013, captured the U13 championship in 2014 and went on to win the U14 league in 2015 under the management of Dessie McCabe, Mick Carr and Declan Moran. Hope the next chapter is as successful for Gary and Johnny’s crew.

Both sides were wasteful early on as it took awhile for both teams to settle into the game with the Cúl camp also possibly taking its toll for both Pearses and Craughwell. Diarmuid Ryan was called into action early on but was quite comfortable under a high lobbing ball. Conor Hillary had a good effort on 7 mins but it took a deflection while Cillian Fahy’s effort went right across the face of goal. It took 13mins for the first score; a good effort from play from Tom Malone which he tapped over to get Craughwell off the mark.

A combined effort from Diarmuid Ryan, Dara Scarry and James Queeney helped maintain a clean sheet for the Pearses youngsters before Paddy Malone and Ciárán Leen linked up well for Leen to split the posts and put Craughwell 2points up. It took 17 mins for Pearses to open their account as corner forward Cillian Fahy teamed up well with Harry Mitchell and he registered the first point of his 2-3 scoring tally. Craughwell registered a 3rd point as the upright was knocked in the process. Then came the turnaround as Pearses never looked back afterwards.

Harry Mitchell was rewarded for his harrying and hard work, drawing 4 players on him and released to Fionn Donohue who made no mistake in finding the net to put Pearses in charge before half time. Harry was unlucky not to extend the lead with an overhead kick which was marginally wide after Jonah Donnellan sent in a 45’ and Padraig Kelly added to it in the danger area. Half time score: Pearses 1-1; Craughwell 0-3.

A combination of Martin Scarry, Tony Walsh, Sean O’Neill and Micháel Kelly reinstated the dislodged upright at half time so that hawkeye wouldn’t be required in the 2nd half. Any fears of fatigue from both teams were put to bed early in the 2nd half as the game sparked to life. Jonah Donnellan’s long delivery from midfield found Cillian Fahy in the corner who in turn found Harry Mitchell lurking in space. Mitch’s low hard drill was saved but the rebound fell nicely for the hard working Anthony Feeney who cracked his goal chance well.

A quickly taken 45’ from Jonah Donnellan to Harry who tapped over his second from play after a good burst forward to extend the margin to 5 points. Craughwell came right back into it as a high lobbing ball was sent into the square and a bit of hesitancy from the Pearses defence saw Dara Zimmerer goal from the edge of the area to reduce the deficit. Cillian Fahy tapped over a free before Harry Mitchell’s gilt edged chance went right across the face of goal as Ross Lally and David Walsh were involved in the build-up.

Jonah Donnellan then burst through the middle of the park before finding Fahy in space and he tapped over his first effort from play to extend the margin back to 3 points. Tom Malone tapped over a free from close range for Craughwell to make it 2-4 to 1-4 with 8 mins left to play. Anthony Feeney then won a 45’ which was duly converted by Jonah Donnellan. Straight from the kick-out Donnellan fielded in the middle of the park and steam rolled forward and scored a lovely point on the run. Harry Mitchell though had plenty kept in reserve as he scored 2 cracking goals in quick succession followed by a point from play as Pearses finished much the stronger side.

Diarmuid Ryan was called into action again late in the game with a good save which was subsequently cleared by James Queeney. At this stage Patrick O’Neill, Cathal Hynes, Ciárán Hogan and Jamie Nutley all got a run. Ryan made another good save as the bounce of the ball on the hard surface almost eluded him, but he recovered well not alone with a fine stop but cleared the ball from the end line in the process. Right at the stroke of full time Craughwell scored their 5th point but at this stage the Pearses fans on the side line were in jubilant mood as the game finished: Pearses 4-7; Craughwell 1-5.

Prior to presenting the shield trophy Larry Lohan from the County Board paid tribute to both teams and both sets of supporters and cited that the game brought in the ‘biggest gate’ of the U12 group finals such was the support from both teams. Joint captains Anthony Feeney andamp;amp; Cillian Fahy raised the trophy to much jubilation as Anthony Feeney in his captains speech was short and sweet thanking the parents, the supporters and thanked Craughwell for a sporting game.

Manager Gary Lally was given a quick shower by the team afterwards in appreciation for his work with this team before he joined the Senior hurling squad for a training session while Johnny escaped light enough. Congrats boys and mentors, the first piece of silverware for the trophy cabinet this year.

Scorers: Harry Mitchell 2-3; Anthony Feeney 1-0; Fionn Donohue 1-0; Cillian Fahy 0-2 (1F); Jonah Donnellan 0-2 (1 45’).

Panel: Diarmuid Ryan, James Queeney, Dara Scarry, Jonah Donnellan, Conor Walsh, David Walsh, Padraig Kelly, Anthony Feeney, Ross Lally, Conor Hillary, Fionn Donohue, Harry Mitchell, Cillian Fahy, Patrick O’Neill, James Feeney, Tommy Nutley, Ciárán Hogan, Daniel Melia, Daniel Lydon, Dylan Roche, Dylan King, Cathal Hynes, Eoghan Ryan, Jamie Nutley, Tadhg Harte, Joe Carroll, Matthew Finnerty.